Okta Is Helping Nonprofits Improve Their Cyber Security Posture—Here’s How
At Okta, we believe that nonprofit organizations should have access to the same best-in-class technology as leading enterprises. These organizations do society’s hardest work, and they deserve to be empowered with leading technologies to protect their extremely vulnerable data. This premise is at the heart of Okta for Nonprofits, which has donated more than $3.4M of technology and services to nonprofits and provided over $100K in pro bono professional services in 2020 alone.
Product donations and discounts help nonprofits access cutting-edge technology and build their cyber security posture, and this support has a rightful place with our program. But we know that there’s more to true support than facilitating access—it requires active engagement. Over the years, we’ve evolved how we support our nonprofit partners by helping them level up and develop essential security skills.
Okta for Good Pro Bono Professional Services
Okta’s Professional Services (PS) team is a group of identity and access management experts that use tried and tested methodologies to solve complex customer problems with Okta products. They do this by partnering and collaborating closely with our customers, continually bringing innovative solutions to the table.
Five years ago, the PS team made an unprecedented move and decided to take the 1% pledge as a department. This meant committing to donate 1% of their billable hours to nonprofit organizations that needed help with identity and access management, or with enhancing their cyber security. The team’s pledge shows the commitment Okta employees have to making positive impacts.
“It was clear from the start that the members of Okta's Professional Services organization had a passion for giving back to the nonprofit community. We staff these engagements with Delivery Team volunteers who feel a connection with a particular nonprofit, and typically have a surplus of employees who are raising their hand to help.” —Todd Gunther, Professional Services Sales Manager
The 1% pledge led to the launch of the Okta for Good Pro Bono Professional Services program in 2019, which is designed to help nonprofits make the most out of Okta. The initiative is open to all US-based organizations and offers 19 hours with the PS team. These hours can be used for a number of different use cases:
- Supporting single sign-on to reduce the negative impacts of poor password hygiene on cyber security
- Writing multi-factor authentication (MFA) policies to better secure access to the nonprofit’s resources and any sensitive data
- Configuring Okta Integration Network applications and automating provisioning and deprovisioning to avoid security vulnerabilities caused by human error
With this support available to them, nonprofits can rest assured that their technology infrastructure is secure and better positioned to serve their cause.
“We were given a donation from Okta For Good: they gave us 19 hours of Pro Bono Professional Services, and that was so instrumental for us. We were able to roll out MFA across the entire organization with their help. We worked on configuring it for all of our field users in Africa, Latin America, and India in about three to four weeks. That was incredibly successful, and it dramatically improved our security.” —Jim McKinnery, Senior Director of Global Information and Communications Technology, TechnoServe
The Okta Nonprofit Technology Fellowship
In addition to our Pro Bono Professional Services, we also support nonprofits through our Nonprofit Technology Initiative, which is focused on contributing to a paradigm shift in how nonprofits are funded and digitally enabled. As part of this program, we’ve committed to investing $10 million from our Okta for Good Fund to better equip nonprofits with the right technologies, networks, and partnerships.
A key component of this initiative is the Nonprofit Technology Fellowship. The fellowship is designed to support nonprofit leaders who are building the future of innovation, social impact, and technology to develop their thought leadership. In this space, it’s incredibly important to nurture non-partisan entities who keep social good top of mind. We provide these leaders with a $25,000 grant, as well as partnerships, connections to peers and publication channels, and professional communication coaching.
Fellows come from a range of technology backgrounds, including cyber security, and have been able to pay it forward by sharing their knowledge beyond the program. For example, Francis Johnson, Managing Director of Technology Services at Tech Impact, published an article highlighting the cyber security risks nonprofits face, a helpful asset for organizations to reference.
Tech Impact pursues a mission to better serve the world with technology, and Francis believes cyber security programs are essential: “Proper cyber security programs are hard to create and maintain even without the resource constraints that most nonprofits face, which is why it’s absolutely critical for nonprofit funders to support cyber security initiatives.”
Building opportunities for nonprofits
In the spirit of supporting and equipping nonprofit leaders with the right tools to build stronger security features at their organizations, the Okta for Good team continues developing programs and initiatives that do just that. This is just one example of how we’re building an ecosystem of technical, financial, and educational support for our nonprofit customers.